ON Thursday, March 29, 2018, the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, flagged off the construction of the Lekki Seaport, which the Lagos State Government is championing in partnership with some foreign investors.
The elated VP, while pledging the full support of the Federal Government to see the project to logical conclusion in 2021, counted the blessings the new facility will bestow on Lagos, the nation’s economic capital, and the nation as a whole.
The seaport is expected to be one of the deepest in West Africa with carrying capacity to become the hub of port operations within the region. The promoters of the project also promised to provide a wide-access port channel that will enable the port handle vessels which no other port currently situated in Nigeria can handle. It is also expected to provide up to 170,000 jobs directly and indirectly.
Certainly, the Lekki Seaport, which is one of the many ambitious projects embarked upon by the Lagos State Government in its dogged determination to lift the metropolis to a world-class business and tourism city, is a welcome development. We hope that all partners and stakeholders will pursue its accomplishment with single-minded commitment as it will be a giant leap for the Nigerian economy.
We, however, hope that with the coming on-stream of this facility, the ports in Apapa which are owned and operated by the Federal Government, will not be abandoned to their fates. We raise this concern because even now that the Apapa ports are still the main non-oil revenue source for the national economy, there is very little footprint of effective governance there. Traffic gridlocks, which have bogged down economic activities for years, have remained intractable as tankers, trailers and trucks from all over the country simply descend on the axis and choke it to a standstill.
In addition to that, the surrounding districts like Olodi Apapa, Ajegunle, Amuwo Odofin, Satellite Town, Kirikiri and others, hardly receive the attention of the Federal and Lagos State governments in terms of maintenance of its amenities.
These two port zones and the prospective port facilities at Badagry should complement one another for the interest of the economy.
We, once again, call the attention of the Federal Government and state governments to the need to also ensure that port and inland container terminal facilities in other parts of the country are fully activated to take the heavy traffic burden off Lagos. This will also spread economic prosperity and make life much easier for business operators and other stakeholders.
The even development of ports and container terminals in all parts of the country will help integrate the nation and give Nigerians a sense of inclusion.